• SurveillanceMore powers, tighter monitoring: Germany reforms its intelligence service

    The Bundestag has passed a comprehensive reform of the BND, Germany’s main intelligence service. The legislation strengthens government monitoring of intelligence powers, and allows the BND to carry out certain types of surveillance activities. The reform is a response to two recent developments: the 2013 Snowden revelations that the BND had spied on German citizens on behalf of the NSA, and the growing concerns about terrorism in Europe. The new legislation thus gives the BND more powers – but subjects it to tighter judiciary monitoring.

  • Hate crimes170,000 hate crimes go unreported in the U.K. each year

    Hate crimes are massively under reported, making it all the more difficult for police and other authorities to make an impact on the issue. Now, researchers have devised techniques that could result in much more accurate estimates.

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  • SurveillanceHalf of American adults are in a little regulated police face recognition database

    Half of American adults — more than 117 million people — are in a law enforcement face recognition network, according to a report. Of the fifty-two government agencies that acknowledged using face recognition, only one obtained legislative approval for its use and only one agency provided evidence that it audited officers’ face recognition searches for misuse. Not one agency required warrants, and many agencies did not even require an officer to suspect someone of committing a crime before using face recognition to identify her.

  • Domestic terrorism3 Kansas men arrested for plotting massive attack on a complex housing Somali refugees

    The Garden City, Kansas police on Friday arrested three members of a far-right militia group for plotting to bomb an apartment complex in Garden City, in which about 120 Somali refugees live. The complex also houses a mosque. Supporters of far-right nationalist ideology – sometime referred to as “alt-right” – have been using an apocalyptic language, which has been adopted by Donald Trump, describing the refugee program as an “invasion” of the country which amounts to “national suicide” for the United States.

  • Domestic terrorismDefining – and monitoring -- domestic terrorism in the U.S.

    Domestic terrorism in the United States “is not just a function of a couple of militia related guys taking over something out West. It’s not just a bunch of white supremacist in white hoods,” says Thomas Brzozowski was appointed to lead the Justice Department’s new domestic terrorism office a year ago. In the past, a host of groups such as anarchists and the Ku Klux Klan have been under surveillance by the federal government. When the FBI was formed in the early twentieth century, communists and later anti-war activists, women’s rights organizations, and civil rights groups came to be viewed as domestic threats. Brzozowski says that today’s Justice Department is more sensitive to the free exercise of civil liberties.

  • GunsReport finds strong link between strength of states’ gun laws and rates of gun violence

    A new report has found a strong correlation between the strength of state gun laws and levels of gun violence. The report, which analyzes ten specific indicators of gun violence in all fifty states, found that the ten states with the weakest gun laws collectively have levels of gun violence that are more than three times higher than the ten states with the strongest gun laws. The ten states with the weakest gun laws collectively have three times more gun violence than the ten states with the strongest gun laws.

  • Clown threatsClown threats may be unnerving, but they are not terrorism

    The fear of clowns has been around for decades, perpetuated by Stephen King’s 1986 novel “It” as well as dozens of TV shows and movies. But what previously was an underlying nervousness recently has mushroomed into a more immediate threat as a result of media reports of clowns approaching or appearing to threaten children. Some have called the incidents “clown terrorism,” but a terrorism expert says that despite the growing sense of fear, it is important to avoid calling the threats and attacks acts of terrorism.

  • ViolenceComparing U.S. deaths from terrorism vs. gun violence

    The number of Americans killed in acts of terrorism – both on U.S. soil and abroad — between 2001 and 2014 is 3,412 (including the victims of the 9/11 attacks). During the same period, 440,095 people died by firearms on U.S. soil (homicides, accidents, and suicides). In 2014, for every one American killed by an act of terrorism in the United States or abroad, 1,049 Americans died in the United States because of guns.

  • GunsSeventy million more firearms added to U.S. gunstock over past twenty years

    The estimated number of privately owned guns in America grew by more than seventy million — to approximately 265 million — between 1994 and 2015. Long guns, such as rifles and shotguns, make up the majority of the U.S. gunstock. But handguns represent the majority of new guns acquired over the past twenty years, making up 42 percent of the total civilian-owned gunstock in the United States, compared to one-third two decades ago.

  • Law enforcementViolence against police officers can trigger increased discrimination in police stops

    A new study has found that incidents of extreme violence against police officers can lead to periods of substantially increased racial disparities in the use of force by police. The study, which used data from almost four million time- and geo-coded pedestrian stops in New York City, examined how violent acts against police officers influenced the subsequent use of force by police against racial minorities.

  • Guns3 percent of U.S. gun owners own half of all privately owned firearms in U.S.

    Half the guns in private hands in the United States are owned by just 3 percent of American adults, according to a new study. An estimated 7.7 million adults in the United States – a group of gun super-owners – are stockpiling between eight and 140 firearms per person. On average, these super-owners own seventeen guns each. Half of the estimated fifty-five million gun owners in America own either one or two guns.

  • GunsBetween 300,000 and 600,000 guns are stolen in U.S. every year – an average of 1,600 every day

    Between 300,000 and 600,000 are stolen in the United States every year – for an average of more than 1,600 guns stolen every day, or more than one every minute. The number of gun deaths in the United States averages 33,000 a year, and the number of gun injuries averages 120,000 a year. The researchers note that the 1,600 guns stolen on average every day provide a weapon for each and every instance of gun violence – death or injury — in the United States each year, several times over.

  • TerrorismNYC terrorist captured: What we know so far

    Ahmad Khan Rahami, the suspect in placing two bombs in Manhattan on Saturday – one of them exploded, injuring twenty-nine people, while the other was disarmed — has been arrested in Linden, New Jersey. He was spotted by residents sleeping in a vestibule next to a bar, and they called the police. Fire was exchanged as the police closed in on him, and two policemen, and Rahami himself, were injured, but not seriously. The Rahami family’s chicken restaurant had problems city ordinances in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and in 2011 the family sued that city and its police department for discrimination and harassment.

  • Crime & punishmentAlabama public library threatens jail time for borrowers with overdue books

    The Athens-Limestone Public Library in Athens, Alabama, has just about had enough with people who borrow books from the library and then take their time returning them. Accordingly, the library has warned people they could go to jail if they fail to return borrowed books on time.

  • Domestic terrorismWhite Nationalist groups growing much faster than ISIS on Twitter

    The number of White Nationalists and self-identified Nazi sympathizers on Twiter had multiplied more than 600 percent in the last four years — outpacing ISIS in all social media aspects, from the number of follower counts to the number of daily tweets, a new study found. The study’s author notes that ISIS has gained a reputation for effectively using Twitter for propaganda and recruitment, but that White Nationalist groups have excelled even more in exploiting the medium. The report says that unlike the campaign Twitter has been conducting against ISIS, White Nationalists are continuing to use the service with “relative impunity.”